Posts Tagged ‘writing’

I think the way to describe the “best” narrative – that is, the narrative that, regardless of its content, is the most structurally-sound, streamlined, well-put-together – is that it is both unexpected and inevitable.  While watching it, you can’t predict the outcomes of the events you’re seeing onscreen, but once you’ve seen it and you look back on it, you realize that it couldn’t possibly have happened any other way.

What I think is interesting about this is that it seems to describe two different modes of appreciating a movie, so what I’m going to do is assume that this is (as it intuitively seems) a correct assertion, and proceed from that to elucidate what I think are the two fundamental elements of narrative.  Some of this is going to seem pretty obvious, but just because a thing is obvious doesn’t mean it isn’t worth exploring a little bit.

Those two elements are Plot and Story.


So apparently now that Warner Bros. doesn’t need to worry about how much of Superman it actually owns, they’re gonna go ahead and just make a Justice League movie next year, to be released against Avengers in summer 2015 – though that’s a hell of a turnaround time, considering they don’t have a cast or director in place.

It’s also comically, stubbornly refusing the Avengers individual-films-then-an-all-star-jamboree model of franchising. Instead Warner Bros. is banking on the idea that it can introduce a bunch of characters in Justice League, then spin them off into their own franchises.

And look, this does sound incredibly hubristic, but if you’d have asked me five years ago if Avengers would have been successful…well, I’d have still been too thrown by the notion that people went to see a Thor movie to even field the question posed to me. So it’s not impossible, just…a daunting task, I suppose is the most diplomatic way to put it.

But unless they think they’re going to revive the Green Lantern franchise, this is not likely to pay off as expansively as Warner Bros. probably hopes.

I mean, look at it this way, the line-up is most likely going to be:  (more…)

So, now you are a writer, great! You have probably made a lot of characters in your writing, and gone to classes, and done workshops, and read a bunch of books, you probably know about ten times more on this subject than I do. And yet here you are, reading what I, BRAAK!, have to say about writing, as though I know what the fuck I’m talking about.

Well, since you’re here, let’s talk about how to humanize a character, and let’s be real about it, you know? Just. Real.


Well, word is that John Carter (of Mars) isn’t going to do so well – certainly not enough to make back its budget, or merit any sequels. This is kind of a shame, because I think it was pretty much a lot of fun, but at least now I can talk about what I think was a kind of a glaring problem with the story that I’d have felt guilty talking about before.

Some time ago, the Guardian, in celebration of something or other, asked a bunch of writers what their ten rules for writing were.  This inspired me to write my own.

Incidentally, one of Jonathan Franzen’s rules is “It’s doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction.”  So, fuck you very much, Jonathan Franzen.

These rules are better than his.


Thoughts About Genre Forms

Posted: September 27, 2010 in Braak, poetics
Tags: , , ,

So, I was updating my website the other day — The Chris Braak Website Experience — to include some new short story work, and to make the scripts of my plays available.  The depressing awareness that I’m going to turn 30 in five months and I haven’t made my fortune as a literary genius yet was offset, slightly, by the realization that, with the exception of two short stories, I’ve written everything — two novels, thirteen short stories, four full-length plays, six short plays — in the last three years.  The Translated Man was finished on January 27, 2007; practically everything else was subsequent to that.

So, that made me feel okay.  But!  Anyway.  Jefferson Robbins suggested that I write something about the difference between writing regular prose and writing for the stage.  I responded LIKE A JERK by pretending I didn’t realize that there was a difference.  But of course there is a difference, and I am aware of it.


TQP LOGO readyYes!  We have unveiled the first of our four secret initiatives, and it is this:  Threat Quality Press is now accepting submissions from regular people for publication here on our WILDLY POPULAR website.  The submissions guidelines appear after the jump, and I’ll migrate this post over to the sidebar after today.

This is very exciting.  Tell your friends.  At once.


As previously stated, I’d been down with disease for most of last week. The price for utter invincibility 51 weeks out of the year is that for about five days I get a cold that drops me to the floor and keeps me there, finding center of gravity just long enough to make some tea and put in a DVD.

Now, I in no way recommend using cold medication as a way of experiencing visions, but…hoo boy. Severe Cold Sudafed is not for weaklings. It does not care if you are sick – it will pummel unconsciousness into you until you until you are well again.